With 43 new Covid cases, the total number of those affected touched on Monday. With a doctor in Chennai and another in Nilgiris succumbing, the number of those killed by the virus went up to 17, Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar told reporters in Chennai in an update.
Dr Simon, a neurologist, died on Sunday night after battling the virus for eight days in a private hospital. Dr Jaya Mohan, who was serving tribes the hilly tribes in Nilgiris, also died after Covid infection.
Dr Vijayabhaskar in a tweet condoled the death of Dr Jaya Mohan. He said ::" My heartfelt Condolences on the demise of Dr.#JayaMohan who passionately served a #TribalVillage in #NilgirisDt. Tamilnadu has lost a talented & young medical professional."
Dr Kanimodhi, a doctor attached to the hospital said Dr Simon who was tirelessly battling the virus got infected from patients when virus was in most virulent form.
it was not clear how he got the infection when doctors have personal protection equipment like surgical masks and gloves.
He was the third doctor to die in Tamil Nadu since the outbreak of the virus. The first was a dentist from Palakkad who died in Coimbatore Medical College Hospital and the second was a surgeon from Nellore who succumbed in private Apollo Hospitals. Their deaths were added to the respective States tally.
Dr Simon was the first doctor from Tamil Nadu to die. Eight other doctors are under treatment, four in government hospitals and four in private hospitals. Dr Simon, who died in Chennai succumbed to Covid got the infection from a patient who was not his but another's . He attended on him and got infected and died. His colleagues speak highly of him, saying he came from a humble ground in Chennai and achieved eminence through dedicated work.
Dr Simon’s body was not allowed to be cremated in a burial ground in Chennai. The body carrying the ambulance was stoned by locals who feared that the virus might spread from the dead, a belief Health Minister Vijayabhaskar debunked. Earlier, the Nellore surgeon’s body was also not allowed to be cremated in Ambattur. Finally, the bodies of these doctors were shifted elsewhere and laid to rest with police protection.
Dr Vijaybaskar said that to prevent recurrence of such incidents, the Government had formed a committee of Government doctors, local body officials and police officers to ensure that the victims were cremated or buried with due respect.
Chennai police arrested 20 persons in connection with the attack on the Ambulance carrying Dr Simon.
In other developments, Dr Vijayabhaskar said that Pudukottai reported its first case on Monday. It was among the three districts which were from this outbreak along with Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri.
Of the 43 new cases, eight were from Chennai taking the total to 303. Chennai Corporation commissioner Prakash said that it was not an alarming number given that the city has a population of over 80 lakh and screening of all incoming passengers by air and train started in March itself and those with symptoms had been isolated and quarantined before air, rail and bus services were suspended from March 22, two days before the entire came under lockdown.
Prakash said 110 hotspots had been identified and sealed in the City and residents of these areas were monitored round the clock from a control room in the corporation.